“Wrap your sanitary napkin with newspaper while buying “
“Don’t talk about ‘you know what ‘ in public “
“Keep your voice low, eyes down while asking for contraceptive pills”
If these sentences ring any bell then yes ,you are/were an Indian teenager like me. In this Era of internet where every answer is just ‘one search’ away, teenagers tend to go to Google before their parents for any and every kind of questions. Most of the time not having descriptive knowledge leads them towards wrong information building the wrong point of view as a mere consequence. Experiencing this burden myself, I would like to talk about this unfair lack of Sex education in our education system and the conservative attitude the millennial holds towards it .
“My education system is based on a 20th century daydream” recently this sentence caught my eye and to be fair in this topic it sounds quite right.
TABOO BEHIND PERIOD-
Like many other cultures, Indian culture had pointed out bleeding as an ‘act of impurity‘ in the past .While with modern takes on the said topic ,the problem is reduced, the TABOO surrounding period is very much present. Indian teenage girls are taught to never talk about their monthly cycle in front of their own father or brother . This proceeds to create a wall between the female and male members of the same family .It not only affects the girls but also affects the male mindset . Talking about it will normalize the whole process and make teenagers understand the worth and privilege of being able of creating a new life .
SEXUAL ASSAULT AND RAPE CULTURE-
In 95% of Indian rape or sexual assault cases the victim is assaulted in the close circle. Many younger people don’t even realize what they are going through. By teaching them the difference between bad touch and good touch, we can at least hope that the victims don’t have to carry these unresolved traumatized memories of their past in their future.
BIRTH CONTROL AND SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE-
In a populated country like India where birth control is a burning issue, having proper knowledge about contraceptive methods can bring a huge change . Many sexually transmitted diseases (Chlamydia ,HPV, Genital Herpes ,Clap etc. ) can be avoided if younger people are taught about safe sex and expert guidance in need .
BUILDING FRESH MENTALITY-
If teenager boys are taught about women’s physical issues , they can gain a fresh perspective and it can work vice-versa.
Sudden hormonal changes between the age of 10 to 19 results curiosity among kids .If they can’t communicate with their parents or their teachers , they will seek answers from internet or their friends who themselves are just kids . This may lead them towards harmful information .Hence, these topics have to be normalized .
THE WRONG IMAGE OF ‘INDIAN CULTURE ‘-
Many times they pass their guilt of not being comfortable with so called “adult talk ” to their own version of Indian culture.
“ These are not the things to talk about in our culture ” this kind of sentences have their fair share of repetition among our adults. It creates this flawed image of our culture in the minds of our youth. It is time to break these heavy norms and create a culture where kids can come to their elders when life unfolds new questions.
In many parts of our country, parents, teachers and religious figures of our society have shown their concerns against teaching this subject in schools and as a result Sex education has been banned in various states like Gujrat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka.
I just hope we can get us out of this millennial old fallacy created by many elders where teenagers are supposed to stay unknown towards anything outside of those 500 pages of our text books .